Category: awareness

awareness, child abuser, cps, custody, false allegations, family, home, love, parental alienation syndrome
Backlash Against Parental Alienation: Denial and Skepticism About Psychological Abuse

By Richard A Warshack, Psychologist and expert on P.A.S. @richardwarshack

This post is in honor of Parental Alienation Awareness Day—April 25.

A boy wrote a letter to his mother telling her that she belonged in a mental institution, that she was nothing to him, that she was nothing but a screw-up, that she was sick, selfish, that he wanted to have nothing to do with her or any of her relatives, and that he hoped she died a horrible, painful death. In other words, this boy disowned his mother with the most aggressive, vile, and hateful language.

The father’s attorney attempted to minimize the child’s alienation by claiming that the boy merely loved his dad a lot more than he loved his mom.

Attorneys spin the facts to zealously advocate for their clients’ positions. We expect it.

But what excuse do others have for denying the reality that a child can become irrationally alienated from a good and formerly loved parent? And for denying the reality that the child’s unjustified rejection of one parent can be traced to the other parent’s relentless manipulations to drive a wedge between child and parent?

How could anyone who works in the family law system deny the reality — affirmed nearly unanimously by legal and mental health professionals — that children can be influenced by one parent to turn against the other parent?

Encouraging a child to align with one parent against the other, and teaching a child to hate a parent for no good reason, is cruel. If a teacher did this to a student, bad-mouthed a child’s parents and systematically undermined the child’s love and respect for her parents, that teacher would be out of a job.

“Stealing the soul,” is how I described this process in DIVORCE POISON—enlisting children as agents in their own deprivation and violating children’s trust.

Leading authorities on divorce agree. Dr. Joan Kelly and Dr. Janet Johnston held no punches: “Whether such parents are aware of the negative impact on the child, these behaviors of the aligned parent (and his or her supporters) constitute emotional abuse of the child.”

Society has a checkered track record in recognizing and protecting children from abuse. Denial and minimization intermittently subdue awareness and acknowledgment. It has been this way with physical abuse, with sexual abuse, and with psychological abuse. So we should not be surprised that a subculture of parents and professionals denies that children can be manipulated to reject a parent for no good reason—or that they go so far as to claim that most children will turn against the parent who is abusing them in these ways.

How do deniers rationalize their apparent blindness?
Here are five strategies.

1. Deflect attention from the reality of divorce poison and its destructive impact with debates about whether parental alienation constitutes a bona fide syndrome. The claim is that because the official manual of psychiatric diagnoses (DSM-5) does not include the term “parental alienation,” the problem must be bogus. You also will not find “reckless driving syndrome” in the DSM-5. But you would be wise to avoid getting in a car with a driver who has this problem. Children need protection from reckless, toxic parenting, regardless of how we label the parent’s behavior. Moreover, the DSM-5 does refer to the concept of irrational parental alienation. The diagnostic manual mentions “unwarranted feelings of estrangement” as an example of the diagnosis: Parent–Child Relational Problem.

To the parent who loses her child, or the child who loses a parent, it matters little whether we label the loss a syndrome, a disorder, a condition, or a problem. What matters is whether a child is suffering and whether a parent’s behavior contributes to a child’s suffering.

2. Claim that it is only a speculation, hypothesis, or theory that children can become alienated from one parent when exposed to the other parent’s negative influence. As I explained in my article, “Bringing Sense to Parental Alienation,” there is nothing theoretical or speculative about the existence of irrationally alienated children. These children can be directly observed by anyone willing to look.

3. Attribute unsupportable, fake positions to parental alienation studies, and then refute the fake positions—a tactic known as “attacking a straw man.” For instance, a recently published study claimed that “the alienation hypothesis” (see denial strategy #2 above) maintains that parental denigration is only unilateral, not reciprocal, and that all children exposed to parental denigration become alienated from the target of denigration. When the study found that a group of volunteer college students reported that both parents denigrated each other, and the children did not reject either parent, the authors of the study concluded that “the alienation hypothesis” was not supported and that parental denigration does not cause children to reject the parent who is denigrated.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that no scholar has claimed that parental denigration necessarily leads to a child rejecting the denigrated parent. Of course many children whose parents badmouth each other maintain relationships with both parents. Rejecting a parent is an extreme consequence, not a common one. Furthermore, anyone who has worked with irrationally alienated children knows that these children are reluctant to admit that their favored parent maligned their other parent— in fact, these children are reluctant to admit anything negative about the parent whom they favor.

Researchers who genuinely want to learn about the forces that lead children to irrationally reject a parent will begin by studying alienated children. Studying children who are not alienated merely makes the obvious point that their parents occasionally bad-mouth each other without alienating the children from either parent. This is the sort of “scholarship” that gives social science a bad odor because the study advocates for and confirms a bias against the existence of parental alienation.

4. Ignore studies that fail to support one’s pet theories. For example, while promoting skepticism about the notion that children can be manipulated by a parent to hate the other parent, the authors of the study mentioned above failed to cite the largest study, published by the American Bar Association, that explicitly attributed children’s problems to being brainwashed by one parent against the other. They also failed to cite the volume of scientific evidence about various mechanisms by which children’s attitudes can be influenced and by which negative stereotypes about a parent can be promulgated.

Children’s feelings and behavior toward each parent are influenced by the way their parents treat each other. Does any reasonable person seriously believe otherwise—that children are immune from a parent’s influence? If so, tell that to all the child psychologists and authors who study and write about how to raise smarter, healthier, happier, and better behaved children.

Ironically, one of the authors of the straw-man study, in a previous article, railed against scholars who selectively cite research that confirms their biases, a tactic he called “cherry picking” or “stacking the deck.” Pot, meet kettle.

5. Promulgate, or accept without investigation or critical scrutiny, dramatic and exaggerated claims that the evaluator, therapist, child representative, and judge in a case mistook a child’s justified rejection of a parent for unjustified alienation, or that children removed from toxic alienating environments have been abused by the family court system. Such claims are repeated without considering all the evidence weighed by the court in reaching its decision.

We have a lot to learn about the roots of parental alienation and about why some children become ensnared in a campaign of hatred toward a parent while others resist. And why some children draw closer to the target of bad-mouthing and reject the parent who dispenses divorce poison, a phenomenon called “blowback” in the video, WELCOME BACK, PLUTO: UNDERSTANDING, PREVENTING, AND OVERCOMING PARENTAL ALIENATION.

But the existence of parents who effectively teach their children to hate the other parent, and of children who absorb this lesson, is beyond dispute.

Exactly two weeks before Parental Alienation Awareness Day in 2017, British High Court Justice Russell delivered her judgment in a Liverpool family court case. She wrote, “By manipulating her children, [the mother] has achieved what she has always wanted and stopped contact with their father. She has done so either because she cannot help herself or because she had quite deliberately set out to expunge their father from their lives. These children have suffered significant emotional harm as a result of their mother’s manipulative actions.”

Do the deniers and skeptics think Justice Russell was deluded?

As journalist Kathleen Parker observed, “Anybody old enough to drink coffee knows that embittered divorcees can and do manipulate their children. Not just women, but men, too.”

We may not want to face the fact that some parents prey on the children in their charge—physically, sexually, or emotionally. Often these parents carefully groom children to engage in harmful acts that victimize children. Whether children are victims of sexual abuse or psychological abuse, we must not turn a blind eye to them.

The fact that some children are able to resist does not obscure the reality that such abuse exists. Professionals who feed denial and skepticism play into the hands of those who want us to look away.

Because deniers and skeptics contribute to a backlash against protecting psychologically abused children from efforts to alienate them from a parent, 13 years after it was introduced we still need Parental Alienation Awareness Day to shine a light on the plight of children and parents caught in this maelstrom, and to remind us that much work remains to be done.

#PAADay #ParentalAlienation

abuse, awareness, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, families, foster care, foster homes, foster parent, healing, suicide
TODAY, 6 Children Will Commit Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents world wide. TODAY 6 children will commit suicide due to child abuse.

In Los Angeles, a 9 year old foster child hung himself while taking psychotropic medications that were not FDA approved for children . His mother that lost him to foster care had allegations of abuse that were never substantiated. She did, however, get a jail term on a marijuana case.

When the pain exceeds the ability to cope..

Researchers explain that suicides are caused by social and emotional conditions rather than a mentaldisease . Furthermore it is often associated with hundreds of suicides & suicide attempts .

” Researchers discovered attention problems & aggressive or delinquent behavior in 40 per cent of children aged five to 17 who were in home-based foster care,up to eight times more than in the general school -age population ” (Gough 2007 ).

Though the statistics vary extensively, it is generally believed that some 18% of patients with psychological problems finally do kill themselves, & illnesses may be associated with approximately 50 percent of all suicides (Youth Suicide Fact Sheet 2009 ).

Browne (2002) states that children in single family foster homes are more apt to commit suicides because of emotional & financial reasons.

Abrupt emotional trauma or upset doesn’t always cause suicidal ideals, there is believed to be an inherited factor involved in the kind of major depression that leads to suicide.

If a person has such a chemical makeup, the ordinary hurtful life events that make many of us mildly depressed can perhaps touch off a major clinical psychological distress.

” Severely depressed teenagers who attempted suicide while they investigate participants in one study of psychological distress excreted radically increased
amounts of this hormone in their urine just before they tried to kill themselves” (Browne 2002, p. 22).

Then, half of another group of depressed teens in the study — all with suicidal signs — researchers found to have high levels in the amounts of hormone found in their blood; more important, three patients who succeeded in killing themselves, and two who nearly did so, had high levels of the hormone prior to suicide or attempted suicide .

Single family foster homes are dangerous to these teenagers because they feel alone & insecure in those “families”. That can lead to social isolation, withdrawal from others, & suicidal thoughts &feelings .then they keep to themselves, & brew on dying.deep inside…& instead of reaching out for help or talking to someone they trust, they trust no one.
They tell no one. .. until they write their note ..thats when its apparent how desperate they felt, but its too late by that time to save them. Ironically their goal in committing suicide was to end their suffering & pain, but by ending their life, they are not alive to feel their pain cease. So the only feeling they will realize is their desperation & suffering that’s causing them to be suicidal. The relief does not come…

Their relief is only possible if there is someone who notices the signs of suicide beforehand who will get them help…

Those who work with foster kids about to “age out” should take particular notice to possible suicidal signs in teens. The “aging out” of foster care happens at the age of 18 for approximately 20,000 youth annually … suicide is rampant among these teens.

The number of those “aging out” of foster care was increasing and studies were consistently showing that these “aged out” children had serious adjustment problems transitioning to adulthood:
38% had emotional problems,50% used drugs, 48% did not have a high school education, & 25% had prior involvement with legal system.

They are the most likely candidates for homelessness, unemployment, and.incarceration.

It is estimated that 60% or more of the prison populations were abused as children and/or were ex-foster children and up to 60% of teens who “aged out” have experienced homelessness.

70% to 75% end up in prostitution, on drugs or dealing drugs.

With a future not so bright, many of them just kill themselves.

They don’t know what else to do.
They are scared.
They feel alone.
The same people ..the same system who intrusively took them from their homes, kept them, controlled them, changed them, damaged them, now abandon them at age 18.

They don’t stick around like families do to turn to in hard times. The system forgets about them once they “age out” and their families no longer exist, thanks to the system.

They are alone.

While suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth, suicide deaths are often preventable. Preventing suicidal behavior in youth involves a diverse range of interventions including effective treatment of those with mental illness and substance abuse, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, promotion of mental health, training in life skills, and reduction of access to the means of suicide.

Many youth in foster care experience trauma and risk factors such as mental illness, substance abuse, and family discord. They are more likely than other youth to think about, attempt, and die by suicide, so it is important to learn about prevention.

Losing a youth to suicide affects a community greatly. Aside from the devastating loss of a young person’s future and potential contributions to society, the bereaved families and friends are at higher risk for suicide themselves.

In 2009, 4,630 youth aged 10 to 24 died by suicide.

Studies have found that youth involved in child welfare or juvenile justice were 3 to 5 times more likely to die by suicide than youth in the general population (Farand, 2004; Thompson, 1995).

A large-scale study in Sweden found more than twice the relative risk for suicide among alumni of long-term foster care compared to peers after adjusting for risk factors (Hjern et al., 2004).

One of the strongest predictors for suicide deaths is a suicide attempt. Among high school students 6.3 percent reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Attempts point to a youth who in unbearable distress. As a result, foster parents and caregivers of youth who attempt suicide need to pay attention and follow up with them. Adolescents who had been in foster care were nearly four times more likely to have attempted suicide than other youth (Pilowsky & Wu, 2006).

Experiencing childhood abuse or trauma increased the risk of attempted suicide 2- to 5-fold (Dube et al., 2001).
Adverse childhood experiences play a major role in suicide attempts. One study found that approximately two thirds of suicide attempts may be attributable to abusive or traumatic childhood experiences (Dube et al., 2001).

Thoughts about taking one’s life range from passing thoughts to constant thoughts, from passive wishes to be dead to active planning for making a suicide attempt.

Among high school students 13.8 percent reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Youth considering attempting suicide have significant mental health needs. Families of and caregivers for youth in foster care can help to reduce some risk factors, and support and advocate for services to build protective factors.
Other factors can’t be changed, but are important to address.

RISK FACTORS
Mental illness including substance abuse
Prior suicide attempt
Self injury
Abuse and neglect
Trauma
Parental mental illness and substance abuse
Family conflict and dysfunction
Family history of suicidal behavior
Poor coping skills
Social/interpersonal isolation/alienation Exposure to suicides and attempts
Suicide means availability/firearm in household
Violence and victimization
Being bullied, bullying

PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Psychological or emotional well-being Family connectedness
Safe school,school connectedness
Caring adult
Self esteem
Academic achievement
Connectedness, support, communication with parents
Coping skills
Frequent, vigorous physical activity, sports Reduced access to alcohol, firearms, medications

For foster parents:
Contact your state suicide prevention coalition to find suicide prevention training, resources, and conferences.

To find your state suicide prevention coalition see http://www.sprc.org/states .

Being depressed is not a normal part of adolescence. If a youth seems especially sad or stops his or her usual activities, get help. For most youth in foster care, trauma-focused therapy is critical. The foster family may need to help their youth through stress reactions and to manage triggers.

Find our more at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network at http://www.nctsn.org/

You CAN help prevent suicide.

abuse, awareness, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, families, foster care, foster homes, foster parent, healing, suicide
TODAY, 6 Children Will Commit Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents world wide. TODAY 6 children will commit suicide due to child abuse.

In Los Angeles, a 9 year old foster child hung himself while taking psychotropic medications that were not FDA approved for children . His mother that lost him to foster care had allegations of abuse that were never substantiated. She did, however, get a jail term on a marijuana case.

When the pain exceeds the ability to cope..

Researchers explain that suicides are caused by social and emotional conditions rather than a mentaldisease . Furthermore it is often associated with hundreds of suicides & suicide attempts .

” Researchers discovered attention problems & aggressive or delinquent behavior in 40 per cent of children aged five to 17 who were in home-based foster care,up to eight times more than in the general school -age population ” (Gough 2007 ).

Though the statistics vary extensively, it is generally believed that some 18% of patients with psychological problems finally do kill themselves, & illnesses may be associated with approximately 50 percent of all suicides (Youth Suicide Fact Sheet 2009 ).

Browne (2002) states that children in single family foster homes are more apt to commit suicides because of emotional & financial reasons.

Abrupt emotional trauma or upset doesn’t always cause suicidal ideals, there is believed to be an inherited factor involved in the kind of major depression that leads to suicide.

If a person has such a chemical makeup, the ordinary hurtful life events that make many of us mildly depressed can perhaps touch off a major clinical psychological distress.

” Severely depressed teenagers who attempted suicide while they investigate participants in one study of psychological distress excreted radically increased
amounts of this hormone in their urine just before they tried to kill themselves” (Browne 2002, p. 22).

Then, half of another group of depressed teens in the study — all with suicidal signs — researchers found to have high levels in the amounts of hormone found in their blood; more important, three patients who succeeded in killing themselves, and two who nearly did so, had high levels of the hormone prior to suicide or attempted suicide .

Single family foster homes are dangerous to these teenagers because they feel alone & insecure in those “families”. That can lead to social isolation, withdrawal from others, & suicidal thoughts &feelings .then they keep to themselves, & brew on dying.deep inside…& instead of reaching out for help or talking to someone they trust, they trust no one.
They tell no one. .. until they write their note ..thats when its apparent how desperate they felt, but its too late by that time to save them. Ironically their goal in committing suicide was to end their suffering & pain, but by ending their life, they are not alive to feel their pain cease. So the only feeling they will realize is their desperation & suffering that’s causing them to be suicidal. The relief does not come…

Their relief is only possible if there is someone who notices the signs of suicide beforehand who will get them help…

Those who work with foster kids about to “age out” should take particular notice to possible suicidal signs in teens. The “aging out” of foster care happens at the age of 18 for approximately 20,000 youth annually … suicide is rampant among these teens.

The number of those “aging out” of foster care was increasing and studies were consistently showing that these “aged out” children had serious adjustment problems transitioning to adulthood:
38% had emotional problems,50% used drugs, 48% did not have a high school education, & 25% had prior involvement with legal system.

They are the most likely candidates for homelessness, unemployment, and.incarceration.

It is estimated that 60% or more of the prison populations were abused as children and/or were ex-foster children and up to 60% of teens who “aged out” have experienced homelessness.

70% to 75% end up in prostitution, on drugs or dealing drugs.

With a future not so bright, many of them just kill themselves.

They don’t know what else to do.
They are scared.
They feel alone.
The same people ..the same system who intrusively took them from their homes, kept them, controlled them, changed them, damaged them, now abandon them at age 18.

They don’t stick around like families do to turn to in hard times. The system forgets about them once they “age out” and their families no longer exist, thanks to the system.

They are alone.

While suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth, suicide deaths are often preventable. Preventing suicidal behavior in youth involves a diverse range of interventions including effective treatment of those with mental illness and substance abuse, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, promotion of mental health, training in life skills, and reduction of access to the means of suicide.

Many youth in foster care experience trauma and risk factors such as mental illness, substance abuse, and family discord. They are more likely than other youth to think about, attempt, and die by suicide, so it is important to learn about prevention.

Losing a youth to suicide affects a community greatly. Aside from the devastating loss of a young person’s future and potential contributions to society, the bereaved families and friends are at higher risk for suicide themselves.

In 2009, 4,630 youth aged 10 to 24 died by suicide.

Studies have found that youth involved in child welfare or juvenile justice were 3 to 5 times more likely to die by suicide than youth in the general population (Farand, 2004; Thompson, 1995).

A large-scale study in Sweden found more than twice the relative risk for suicide among alumni of long-term foster care compared to peers after adjusting for risk factors (Hjern et al., 2004).

One of the strongest predictors for suicide deaths is a suicide attempt. Among high school students 6.3 percent reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Attempts point to a youth who in unbearable distress. As a result, foster parents and caregivers of youth who attempt suicide need to pay attention and follow up with them. Adolescents who had been in foster care were nearly four times more likely to have attempted suicide than other youth (Pilowsky & Wu, 2006).

Experiencing childhood abuse or trauma increased the risk of attempted suicide 2- to 5-fold (Dube et al., 2001).
Adverse childhood experiences play a major role in suicide attempts. One study found that approximately two thirds of suicide attempts may be attributable to abusive or traumatic childhood experiences (Dube et al., 2001).

Thoughts about taking one’s life range from passing thoughts to constant thoughts, from passive wishes to be dead to active planning for making a suicide attempt.

Among high school students 13.8 percent reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Youth considering attempting suicide have significant mental health needs. Families of and caregivers for youth in foster care can help to reduce some risk factors, and support and advocate for services to build protective factors.
Other factors can’t be changed, but are important to address.

RISK FACTORS
Mental illness including substance abuse
Prior suicide attempt
Self injury
Abuse and neglect
Trauma
Parental mental illness and substance abuse
Family conflict and dysfunction
Family history of suicidal behavior
Poor coping skills
Social/interpersonal isolation/alienation Exposure to suicides and attempts
Suicide means availability/firearm in household
Violence and victimization
Being bullied, bullying

PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Psychological or emotional well-being Family connectedness
Safe school,school connectedness
Caring adult
Self esteem
Academic achievement
Connectedness, support, communication with parents
Coping skills
Frequent, vigorous physical activity, sports Reduced access to alcohol, firearms, medications

For foster parents:
Contact your state suicide prevention coalition to find suicide prevention training, resources, and conferences.

To find your state suicide prevention coalition see http://www.sprc.org/states .

Being depressed is not a normal part of adolescence. If a youth seems especially sad or stops his or her usual activities, get help. For most youth in foster care, trauma-focused therapy is critical. The foster family may need to help their youth through stress reactions and to manage triggers.

Find our more at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network at http://www.nctsn.org/

You CAN help prevent suicide.

abuse, awareness, cps, families, family, foster parent, home, judicial system, kids, social services, social worker, social workers
10 Things To Remember If A Social Worker Comes To Your Home

1. Ask for the social workers business card. Have your attorney contact the worker on your behalf if the situation is hostile.

2. Find out the allegations before allowing the social worker access to your home or child.

3. Do not waive your rights to be protected from illegal search and seizures by allowing anyone in your home without a court order or warrant.
These rights are guaranteed under the 4th amendment of the US CONSTITUTION.

4. Insist on being present when your child is interviewed
by the social worker.

5. Tell the social worker you will call them after consulting an attorney. Then call an attorney.

6. Ignore intimidations. Social workers are trained bluffers.

7. Offer supportive evidence-
~A dr.’s statement after exam of child.
~References from individuals vouching for your good parenting.~Photos or home videos exhibiting happy healthy children.

8. Bring a tape recorder or credible witnesses to all meetings. Limit discussions to allegations and try not to tell past family events beyond what they already know.

What you say can and will be used against you.

9. Avoid potential situations likely to lead to cps investigations-
do not
~spank in public
~do not leave children home alone
~do not spank other people’s children.

10. Pray and elicit prayers and support of local church members.

“The Government’s interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse but protecting childrens’ interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents.” Calabretta v. Floyd 189 F.3d (9th cir 1999)

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

accountability, awareness, child abuser, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, Collin County, Texas, custody, families, family, healing, kids, parental alienation syndrome, psychiatry
Parental Alienation Do’s and Don’ts

hurt

What you do and don’t do when as a loving parent you are confronted with a severe case of Parental Alienation Syndrome in your child?

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DO’S

DO…start to immediately educate yourself, your lawyer, your Judge, your psychologist and your child, if possible, about PAS.

This is one of the most widespread forms of emotional child abuse there is arising out of our Family Court system today and there are at least 1,000 internet web sites for you to obtain information from about PAS.

DO…fully prepare yourself for your Court presentation about PAS.

To do this you should print and make several copies of all the information on PAS you find on these web sites and put them in at least four (4) separate booklets and entitle them.. “URGENT IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE COURT ON PAS…What you need to know about the abuse of my child to save him/her and me from a lifetime of pain and suffering”.

Before you go into Court you should give one of these booklets to your lawyer and your psychologist while keeping one for yourself and the Court.

DO…tell the Court if they don’t act immediately to stop your child’s abuse, you will take your PAS case and all the proof and evidence you provided the Court on your child’s PAS condition to the local newspapers and T.V. stations

…AND…

you will post your case and Judge’s name on all the PAS internet web sites for the whole world to see how derelict the Court was in not carrying out its responsibility to protect your child from your former spouse’s severe emotional abuse and the permanent destruction of you and your child’s relationship together.

DO…keep your faith in God and yourself at all times while always taking the high road to fight and solve this  problem.

DO…continue to reach out to your PAS affected child no matter how many times they tell you how much they hate you and never want to see you again.

While they may say these things to you, the fact is they really don’t hate you and actually yearn desperately to see you again, but those feelings are not allowed any expression by the abusing parent.

If you have a flair for the dramatic to make your point you can also add a reprint of my web site home page with my daughter’s picture and number of days I have not seen her because of PAS and the Court’s refusal to intervene to stop her abuse.

At the top of the page you should also write in big letters ….“I DO NOT INTEND TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME AND MY CHILD”

DO…take off the gloves and demand immediate action by the Court to STOP the abuse of your child.

Remind the Court in the strongest terms possible that your child’s life, mental health and their continued on going relationship with you is at stake…AND…that if they don’t intervene immediately the chances of ever saving your child and your relationship together will be ZERO.

DO…trust your own instincts as a parent to do what is in the best interests of your child when confronted with this PAS problem…AND…if the Court won’t protect your child’s interests, then you will protect his/her interests yourself.

This you will do by public exposure of your case to the media until the Court does protect your child’s interests as the law requires them to do. It may take a long time but you must never ever give up the fight.

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PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DON’TS

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to know anything about PAS or to try and help you save your child and your relationship together.

Almost all lawyers, Judges, psychologists and Court mediators who are involved in your case KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT PAS…AND…even if they did would probably not have the time or be able to fully understand your case and how important it is for Court intervention to stop your child’s PAS abuse.

In most PAS cases none of these people really care about helping you and your child either.

DON’T…delude yourself into thinking that your local Family Court, your Judge, your lawyer, your psychologist or  anyone else but you really wants to look out for and protect the best interests of your child.

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to properly educate themselves on PAS. This is particularly true about your  former spouse, Family Court Judges and Court appointed psychologists.

You must do all this research and education about PAS  yourself to pass on to all the people involved in your case.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to intimidate you.

You will be challenged at every turn and told you don’t know what you are talking about when you mention PAS.

Many will also tell you that PAS is nothing more than a figment of your imagination and that it has never been proven and doesn’t even exist in the Psychiatric Association’s Bible of mental and psychiatric disorders known as DSM-IV. Some of these people will further tell you that this was only a “pipe dream” invented by Dr. Richard Gardner to sell his books.

DON’T believe a word these people tell you and never give in to their intimidating tactics to discredit you, PAS or Dr. Gardner.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to delay or prolong your Court hearing on this matter.

The longer this PAS abuse goes on with your child, the more difficult it will be for you to do anything to stop it…AND…If it goes on for too long without Court intervention (ie. 6 months or more) then your chances of ever re-establishing a normal healthy relationship with your child will start to approach ZERO.

DON’T…engage in any kind of retaliatory brainwashing PAS abuse of your child yourself.

The temptation is always there to “fight fire with fire” when you are being attacked and maligned by your former spouse, BUT DON’T EVER DO IT.

REMEMBER what I said before. Always take the High Moral ground for your child and if you want to get angry and verbally attack someone, get angry and attack the people who are doing this to your child.

Never get angry at your child for how he/she is behaving or in any other way do anything to further hurt your child.

You must be able to walk a fine line always trusting in yourself and your God to see and fight this thing through for the ultimate best interests of your child and yourself.

DON’T…ever GIVE UP no matter how many well meaning and/or not so well meaning people tell you to do so.

You will constantly hear people tell you that you should merely give up the fight to save your child from PAS and wait until they grow up and find out for themselves how badly they were abused by your former spouse and the Court.

This would be the same as letting your child drown until they learned how to swim themselves. You have a solemn duty to protect your children and thus you cannot ever shirk from that duty.

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!